Vol.5 No.40 DoM E Message
Spiritual Gift of the Week
We pray for the grace of love and gratitude for the mercy you have shown to us.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of Christ our Lord.
Spiritual Instruction of the Week
Pray. Confess. Believe in the forgiveness of sin.
Dear Beautiful Daughters of Mary,
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins…
“Elizabeth I’ with Helen Mirren is a film worth watching. One particularly striking scene begins with the British council interpreting a conflicted order about the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Queen Mary was found guilty of conspiring against Elizabeth. Her brutal execution was carried out and upon hearing the news, Elizabeth grieved, begging for God’s forgiveness. Mirren’s performance was stellar. What was most striking however was the solid theology presented. Elizabeth was Christian, and to be Christian is to believe in the forgiveness of sin. Acknowledge sin—ask forgiveness—this is the way of salvation. Queen Elizabeth I knew the horror of her sin. She knew the importance of confessing to God. The movie at least presents her this way. The scene ends sacramentally in fact, as she finds herself inconsolable, until she confesses to the Earl of Leicester (played by Jeremy Irons). Innately she realizes that her sin was not only against God, but also against her community, the community of the faithful.
For us as Catholics, the Sacrament of Reconciliation offers this sort of consolation—and it protects and restores our dignity. In the Catechism we are told: “There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest. Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin” (982).
In the graced moments of life, when we become most deeply aware of our sinfulness, God calls out to us. How we respond is important. Perhaps, the best example of what not to do is found in the story of Adam and Eve. They sin, they hide, they refuse to take responsibility:
“The Lord God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you?
He answered, I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.
Then God asked: Who told you that you were naked?
Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat?
The man replied, The woman whom you put here with me—
she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.
The Lord God then asked the woman: What is this you have done?
The woman answered, The snake tricked me, so I ate it.” (Gen.3:9-13).
For sure, there is never a need to defend ourselves from God. What if Adam and Eve had faced God, rather than hide? What if they had let go of defensiveness and fear? What if they had confessed their sin to one another? What if they had then individually turned to God and said: “Here are my sins Lord. I am sorry. Forgive me. In your mercy, do not cast us from the Garden.” The story of Adam and Eve may have ended differently.
Our story will end differently. We know in our hearts that we sin. We are always, as Karl Rahner wrote, ‘partly guilty.” But also, we are ‘partly innocent.’ God sees our innocence and clings to it, for in our innocence we desire goodness and holiness. In our innocence we desire love. We do not want to sin, but we do—and God calls out to us—“Where are you?” God does not hide. God’s desire is our dignity. For us then, there is only one response. We turn—we face God—and his Church—and we ask forgiveness. “Have mercy on me Lord, according to you unfailing love…hide your face from my sin and blot out all my iniquity…cast me not from your presence—take not your Holy Spirit from me…” (Ps. 51: 1,9).
Let us pray…
About receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Pope Francis stated: ”Someone can say, ‘I confess my sins only to God.’ Yes, you can say to God, ‘forgive me,’ and say your sins. But our sins are also against our brothers, against the Church. This is why it is necessary to ask forgiveness of the Church and of our brothers, in the person of the priest.”
Veni, Spirito Santo, la misericordia di Dio ci salva—
Come Holy Spirit, it is by God’s mercy that we are saved,